Food is a way for people to connect, for humanity to celebrate! The holidays involve so many food fests that it’s a little too easy to lose count and get bored by the end. What fun is that though? The flavors of the holidays are amazing, especially when we get to enjoy a favorite aunt’s beloved pie or unique creations made with the season’s unique gourds! How can we continue enjoying the back-to-back holiday dinners though?
Each time you sit down to eat, enjoy it. Engage with your family and friends through the preparation of the food. Share ideas and recipes. Delegate tasks; make life easier in that way. Then, when it’s time to actually eat, take your time. Refrain from talking with food in your mouth or getting on your phone or watching the TV. Focus on only each bite. Do this with the children at the table too! The following are questions to ask as you eat.
- What are you enjoying first? Which dish are you most looking forward to trying? There is probably one that you never get sick of or one that you have never had before and just can’t wait to try! Think about that. Let the anticipation build.
- What colors are on your plate? Look at the rainbow of hues. How incredible is it that our sustenance can be so full of vibrancy and color? Notice which colors you tend to eat more and notice which is grabbing your attention now.
- What does your food smell like? Do you smell spices that you only smell during holiday dinners? Are other smells familiar? Can you detect each individual smell? Encourage yourself and the others at the table to try to identify each dish by aroma alone.
- How does your food taste? Take a slow bite. Enjoy the taste and the burst of flavor. What seasonings can you detect? Find your favorite and concentrate on that particular one! Before your next bite, take a break or swig of beverage, and be fully present for the next bite.
- Lastly, how does your food make you feel? Does it feel comforting and inviting? Does being around the table with this deliciousness recall fond memories? Maybe you begin feeling warmth and relaxation wash over you as you enjoy this experience of nutrition and celebration.
You might feel silly practicing the above exercises, but you can invite your guests or friends/family to join you. Explain that it’s a way to appreciate the hard work that went into preparing the food, from the time it was a seed to the present moment, as it is prepared now. Explain that mindfulness exercises can increase our enjoyment in both the actual eating process and in the current celebration.
Food is meant to be enjoyed! Mindful eating is a great way to enjoy both your food and you holiday. Bon apetit!